Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage Stromboli

I’m kind of a closet perfectionist. I try not to let it rule my world. Logic and order and all that stuff make me warm and fuzzy. Anything creative stresses me out. Cooking and baking are definitely about as creative as I can get without feeling super anxious and uncomfortable. I mean, 2+2 always equals 4. Things that challenge your creativity are so open for interpretation. Right and wrong can get pretty ambiguous and it depends who you’re talking to. That’s sometimes a little too hard for me to handle [neurotic much?].

I have been known to have this minor melt downs when things aren’t just so or they aren’t as good as I think they should be. I’ve been this way for a long, long time. Self destruction on the softball field? Been there. Freaking out during a speech? Done that. It’s not pretty. I’d like to think I’ve gotten a lot better, but sometimes it rears it’s ugly head.

Case in point: this stromboli. Pizza cravings were in full effect. We had talked about stromboli with a friend just a few nights prior. It had to happen. I used the usual dough. It wasn’t until after I let it sit for 15 minutes that I realized I read my own instructions wrong. It was going to be one of those nights. I didn’t use the right amount of flour. I wondered why it was stickier than normal. I went with it, though, flouring everything, including my hands, a little more than normal. That’s when I rolled it out too thin. It stuck to the table in more places than one, and by the time I rolled up the toppings, it was virtually see-through.

More than one or two explitives were thrown around in full volume as I divised a way to get the stromboli to my pan. There wasn’t any turning back. I had a full blown rant on my hands. I ranted and raved as I applied the eggwash, assured that my efforts were futile and this was going to be the worst stromboli in the history of stromboli. I was cursing my stupidity for not using enough flour, and for rolling it out too thin. I whined to no one in particular [Andrew was bearing witness to this all, mind you] about how I just wished I could make decent, pretty looking food. Was that too much to ask?

Into the oven it went. I sighed a dejected sigh and cleaned up my mess. I was being far to dramatic and it was totally unnecessary. While doing the dishes, I started to feel more than a little foolish about my outburst. I checked the baking process through the window. It didn’t look that bad. I even convinced myself that less flour meant less carbs…or something. I had seriously done a 180° turn from 15 minutes prior. It was over and done with that quickly. It’s a lot funnier now than it was then. Poor Andrew.

The result was actually really good. I’m definitely going to make the dough properly next time, and probably add some more cheese. The flavor combo was out of this world, though. Splurging on the sundried tomatoes and kalamata olives made the best tomato base. That was so, so tangy and creamy. After killing off half of it, and a couple glasses of wine, all was right in the world.

Until I overcooked some carne asada a couple nights later. Whoops.

Inspiration: Pip  & Ebby

Ingredients

  • 1 batch of pizza dough
  • 8 sundried tomatoes packed in oil
  • 1 tablespoon oil from sundried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives
  • 10oz box of frozen spinach, thawed and water squeezed out
  • 5-6 crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2lb spicy Italian chicken sausage
  • 10-15 slices of pepperoni
  • 4-6oz of shredded provolone
  • 1 egg, beaten

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400° and line a baking sheet with a silpat or aluminum fooil.
  2. In a food processor, add the tomatoes, oil, and olives. Pulse to combine until creamy. Set aside.
  3. Brown the sausage. Drain if a lot of grease accumulates. Mine didn’t.
  4. Roll out the dough to a large rectangle, about 10×14.
  5. Spread the tomato olive base all around the dough.
  6. Sprinkle toppings evenly across.
  7. Top with cheese last.
  8. Starting with the long end facing you, roll it up as if you were making cinnamon rolls.
  9. Pinch the edges and seams together.
  10. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
  11. Brush the top of the dough with the egg.
  12. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is hollow and toppings are oozing out.=
  13. Allow to cool before slicing and serving.

[Andrew took the photos again. Because he's nice like that.]

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